Original Thinking with Chocolate and Cheese


Original Thinking with Chocolate and Cheese

Everyday you come across examples of original thinking. These are the campaigns, messages and content that manage to stand out from the crowd. With the continuing volume of messages across all platforms, the need for original thinking has never been greater.

As someone who makes a living from original thinking, it made me think: How do you think originally? I’m not sure there’s a set answer, partly because people think differently. It may well be the case that some people simply have a natural flair for original thinking.

However, a bit like a successful sportsperson, training and practice really does help improve performance. I actively practice my original thinking, and one of my favourite ways to do this is to think about two different things to see what I can come up with.

The great thing about thinking is that you can do it anywhere, and for example today in the supermarket I noticed the first two things in my basket were chocolate and cheese. (This is an accurate reflection of my culinary skills!)

This made me think what, from a marketing perspective, you could do with chocolate and cheese. At this point I realised that my cheese and chocolate were both Swiss, which added an extra dimension to my thought process as I shopped the aisles.

On this occasion, by the time I got to the checkout my thinking had devised a promotional campaign for Swissair based on chocolate and cheese. It would work like this:

  • For selected flights when you book online before selecting a seat, passengers are asked to choose chocolate or cheese. Then on these flights passengers on one side of the plane would be given a promotional pack of chocolate and passengers on the other side a promotional pack of cheese.

  • To bring the promotion to life stickers or badges could be included in the promotional packs along the lines of: Swissair Chocolate Lover or Swissair Cheese Lover. Helping to give the promotion “selfie” appeal.

  • Add in some surprise prizes in selected packs, for example: chocolate or cheese hampers, a trip to a chocolate factory, flight tickets etc.

  • Monitor which side of the plane booked out first. This would help to create stories about whether people prefer chocolate or cheese.

  • As part of the promotion actively encourage people to share their passion for either across social platforms.

Of course in this example of original thinking, I needed to work the idea backwards to identify reasons why an airline would want to run this type of promotion. For me this is an important test of my original thinking, and even in a random exercise such as this I want to know that my ideas would offer genuine benefits.

The benefits for this promotion, as I see them, would be as follows:

  • A point of difference for the airline

  • A unique promotion that would help generate interest in the airline

  • Strong customer engagement based on a simple decision

  • Potential to generate content and stories for sharing across platforms based on passengers’ passion for either chocolate or cheese

  • Authentic to the brand as it focuses on Swiss products on a Swiss airline

  • An injection of brand personality

  • Cost effective, chocolate and cheese producers would hopefully be eager to provide product as part of the promotion.

It’s important to remember this isn’t intended to be a fully developed concept. Instead it’s a useful exercise in original thinking, that in itself helps me to keep my thinking original. It helps to illustrate that even a mundane trip to the supermarket can become an opportunity to practice original thinking, and certainly makes choosing groceries a lot more interesting.

This type of thinking, where there are no boundaries, is of course very different to when you are thinking for clients. A client brief has parameters that need to be factored into the thought process to ensure that the outcomes are going to be original, workable and successful.

Of course if Swissair do run a brilliant chocolate or cheese promotion, which side of the plane would you be sitting on?